Alejandro Amenábar – Tesis (1996)

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Spanish director and scriptwriter Alejandro Amenábar has gotten a fair amount of attention in the English-speaking world of late, and well-deserved it is. At the moment, he is probably best known for directing The Others, as well as directing and writing Open Your Eyes (Abre los ojos), the outstanding film that spawned a totally unnecessary remake in Vanilla Sky. Amenábar’s film Thesis (original title: Tesis) takes us back to 1996, where we can see that his success is no fluke: it has been in the cards from the beginning. Continue reading

Alejandro Amenábar – Mar adentro AKA The Sea Inside (2004)

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Life story of Spaniard Ramón Sampedro, who fought a 30-year campaign to win the right to end his life with dignity. Film explores Ramón’s relationships with two women: Julia, a lawyer who supports his cause, and Rosa, a local woman who wants to convince him that life is worth living. Through the gift of his love, these two women are inspired to accomplish things they never previously thought possible. Despite his wish to die, Ramón taught everyone he encountered the meaning, value and preciousness of life. Though he could not move himself, he had an uncanny ability to move others. Continue reading

Alejandro Amenábar – Abre los ojos AKA Open Your Eyes (1997)

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What is waking? What is dream? What is reality? What is fantasy? What is sanity? What is madness?

Such questions pervade “Open Your Eyes,” a psychological thriller directed by Alejandro Amenabar. “Open Your Eyes,” which darts among such relative novelties as virtual reality and cryogenics, is at bottom a retelling of the story of Job for a vain, materialistic, selfish age.

Handsomely filmed in Madrid with an attractive cast, this Spanish feature is unlikely to satisfy those who insist on linear storytelling and pat endings. But in its deliberately vexing way, “Open Your Eyes” is a film with enough intellectual meat on its stylish bones to give more adventurous moviegoers something to chew on afterward. Continue reading